August 14, 2005 [LINK]
Cabinet crisis in Peru
President Alejandro Toledo received a sharp rebuke after naming his political ally Fernando Olivera, as foreign minister. In protest, Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero submitted his resignation, thereby obliging the rest of the cabinet to resign. Ferrero objects to Olivera's support for allowing more cultivation of coca, which is one of the issues that has torn Bolivia apart in recent years. Ferrero may aspire to run for a congressional seat next year, in which case he would have had to resign by October in any case. See CNN.com. Peru is rather unique in the Americas, having adopted the "quasi-presidential" constitutional system of Fifth Republic France. The president is assisted by a prime minister, who is in charge of formulating detailed policies and getting legislation passed. It doesn't always work like it's supposed to... With his popularity remaining at single-digit levels, Toledo will probably be remembered as the president with the longest "lame duck" tenure in Peru's history. The fact that his government has survived for so long without a serious coup attempt in spite of the lack of popular support is perhaps a testament to the strength of the country's political institutions.
Lula apologizes in Brazil
President da Silva apologized for the bribery scandal that has ruined the coalition led by his Worker's Party. With a fragmented political party system, Brazil can ill afford such a breakdown in party alignments. Da Silva may end up having to rule by decree if the legislative branch cannot function.